First thousand files from Immigration and Naturalisation Service backlog closed

Over the past two months, about 1,000 files from the backlog incurred by the Immigration and Naturalisation Service (Immigratie- en Naturalisatiedienst, IND) in recent years were closed under the supervision of a special task force. Minister for Migration Ankie Broekers-Knol announced this information to the Lower House of Parliament during policy document consultations on Wednesday.

While the Minister characterised the start as promising, she warned against premature celebrations. The task force needs to work through a total backlog of more than 14,000 asylum applications, which will require a lot of work in the months ahead. That goal continues to pose a challenge, in part because of the coronavirus measures and their effect on the work.

Reduced influx

The reduced influx of asylum seekers as a result of the travel restrictions allowed the task force to deploy IND staff, which enabled them to work through this first stack of files. The task force will continue to deploy 180 IND employees over the next few months.

The Repatriation and Departure Service (Dienst Terugkeer en Vertrek, DT&V) has made another 40 staff available, including many former IND employees with experience in dealing with asylum cases. Currently, a further 200 interviewers and decision-makers are being recruited, of which the first group is expected to finish its training and get to work by the middle of June.

Task force

Broekers-Knol created the task force in early March to eliminate the IND's backlog. This measure has drawn a line between the pile of files until 1 April of this year (task force) and the new cases (IND). As a result, the Minister hopes to have eliminated the IND's backlog by the end of autumn, although the consequences of the coronavirus crisis need to be taken into account in this context.